The Living, Matt de la Pena

the living

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One Response to “The Living, Matt de la Pena”

  1. bachbooks Says:

    Summary:
    Growing up poor near San Diego, Shy experiences an entirely different world when he takes a job on a high end cruise ship sailing the Pacific Ocean. The camaraderie of his crew-mates and the demands of his job distract him from the pain of suddenly losing his grandmother to a mysterious illness spreading across the border from Mexico. In the midst of his first cruise, a passenger jumps overboard, and Shy does his best to save the man, but he is unable to pull him to safety. Haunted by the memory of this passenger and his enigmatic last words, Shy takes solace in his friends and a potential love interest until disaster strikes and he must struggle to survive.

    Evaluation:
    I liked reading about Shy, and I felt bad for his family and all they had suffered. The cruise ship setting and his crew-mate friends provide a supporting cast which reminded me of my summers as a camp counselor. Unfortunately, The Living devolves into “The Young Man and the Sea” before becoming a modern island survival story a la “Lord of the Flies.” Mystery, action, and adventure are not this book’s strong suit. When de la Pena’s characters call attention to class inequities, corporate callousness, and social strata, the book is at its best.

    Rating: 3 stars

    Recommendations: Legend, Ship Breaker, The Drowned Cities, 1984

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